Showing posts from 2012

Parenting Christmas Lights

Yep - you read that right.  I think there's a major parallel here between kids and Christmas lights.

As I was putting them up, I came across some tangles - of course.  The harder I pulled, the tighter they became.  And, then it was even harder to untangle them.  Only if I gently, slowly, looked for where the knot started, and carefully undid it, did it come clean nicely.

You see it, don't you?

Last night, after I asked my daughter to clean up her lego wrapper mess on the chairs in the dining room, I saw her start to climb on top of the table.  Putting Scream Free Parenting aside, I took her head off - she began to sob majorly and then replied back in a very sad manner;  "I was getting your trash, too, that's in the middle of the table."
Don't you hate it when that happens?
It took her a while to calm down, lots of back-rubbing and apologizing on my part.
It would have been way easier if I had waited to see what she was doing before I decided to blow …

I Took Food From a Homeless Woman Today

We were having lunch together.  Next to her chicken and potatoes was a piece of corn on the cob.  She doesn't have enough teeth to eat it.  But, since it was already on her plate, she couldn't give it back, so she offered it to me and I took it.  It was actually quite tasty.  We had a wonderful meal together.  Sandra (not her real name) and I are sisters.  All we talk about is Jesus.  We haven't seen each other in about a month so we had a lot of catching up to do - we shared more than a meal, we shared tears and laughter;  and I want to go back again and again and do it all the time.
I'm addicted to it.
There's a reason Jesus tells us to take care of "the least of these".

I made another woman sore and breathless (she really did it, I just told her what to do).
She wanted a workout - we both loved every minute of it.  Why?  Because at the end she said, "I did it!  I finished a workout - I'm so proud of myself!"
Who wouldn't want …

Just The Facts, Ma'am

I know I'm not suppose to be blogging right now, and I'm not - I'm fasting from blogging to use the time I spend thinking about writing to, instead, pray for discernment for the five awesome individuals in charge of deciding what to do with the 3 million $$ deficit that is hindering their plan in building the Family Plex in East Garfield Park, Chicago.

They are going to do this project - they have $13/$16 million raised, but they are at a stand-still and need to re-assess what is most important to the neighborhood.

This morning, while I was praying - I was told to lay out the facts for YOU, to see if YOU might just feel a little nudge in your spirit to use some year-end giving towards this amazing project.  I would have waited until the end of the 40 days, but at that point, they will have to be ready to make a decision.

Breakthrough currently works with 21 pre-schoolers, but they have a massive waiting list, and could work with 150 pre-schoolers with the addition of the F…


I've started a couple posts that haven't resolved themselves.
Got me to thinkin'... Since Breakthrough is asking us to fast from something in order to pray for discernment for them regarding the Family Plex initiative - why not use all this wasted thought energy and channel it into something more productive?
So, that's what I'm doing.  They have a page on Facebook entitled  Breakthrough's 40 Days of Discernment:
It is here where prayer during this 40 day time period which started on Monday, Oct 22, will replace writing and thinking of writing.
This is the photo of the land that we are praying for - the place I would love to work one day, and the neighborhood that has taken hold of my heart, as I come to know the people who call this place home.
See you in December.
- unchainedkimijane


The question came up at the dinner table this weekend:  "What will you be doing ten years from now?"
One said - "I will be driving!"
Another said - "I think, maybe, I'll be in college, right?"
And the other said - "I don't know, I don't want to think that far, finishing college, I guess..."
As I was thinking about my answer while listening to theirs, my grin turned around because I hadn't thought about this one before, and I was baffled.  "I will be fifty and at home with my young driver."

I wanted a better answer.

Ten years didn't sound like that much at first.  Then I went backwards and realized that it really is a long time:
Ten years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom with an almost three year old, and a two month old.  I was happy with two girls, and would've gotten the surgery to firm that up had the option been there in the delivery room.  I would have said something like, "ten years from now, I will have…

Using the "F" Word As A Christian

I don't swear.  Anymore.
At one point in my life, as a sophomore in high school, when I was dating a bad boy who had a potty mouth, I, of course copied him because he was cute.
Now, it's a turn off.
EXCEPT on Fridays, when I'm cleaning the house while the kids are in school and turn on Pandora radio super loud (so I can hear over the vacuum) to Mumford and Sons, and "Little Lion Man" comes on.
I love that song - and I love singing the whole thing - even the "F" word in it!  (when no one's listening)
And I don't feel any guilt when it releases itself from my lips.
I had to figure out why.
There's actually no parental advisory on it, either.
If you haven't heard it, here's the link:

Then, the other day, when my girls had been beefing and were sent to sit on the stairs together to discuss what they had each done wrong and what they could have done differently, it came to me.  Rather than blami…


I've been reading a book called One Month To Live, by Kerry and Chris Shook.  My kids saw the title and said "how sad", but it's not - it's exciting.  The subtitle is "thirty days to a no-regrets life".

The idea is that if you only had one month left to live, how would you make every day that you had really, really matter?  The authors are encouraging us to live lives of passion, living out our dreams, forgiveness, thankfulness, integrity, risk, and authenticity.

After my last post, I was feeling a bit exposed.  It's amazing how people can put signs in their yards or bumper stickers on their cars, but when I lay out my thoughts,(and re-worded a few afterwards to clarify a little), it felt as if I were showing too much.  Then I read a chapter from this book today that made me feel a little better entitled: "Last Call".  The first quote is by Tim Keller:

"Say what you want to say 
when you have the feeling and the chance.
My deepest regret…

The Dilemma...

Since I was eighteen and able to vote, I've been heavily influenced by an extremely right-winged male for my choices at the pole.  Now I am older, no longer influenced in the same way, and have grown a heart for the poor.  This has left me to make some big-girl decisions within the next month, one of which, I want to make wisely.  I don't like ambiguity, so I'll spill it:  I'm passionate about marriage, life of the unborn, and helping the poor.  I've read Shane Claiborne's and Jim Wallis' blogs, and I really enjoy them; but since Jesus isn't running for President, we don't have that choice.  Since some things will be made law, and some things are up to our own choosing, we need to figure out which ones should be which, right?

The Ten Commandments: 

No other gods, only ME
No carved gods/idols
Do not misuse the name of the LORD
Observe the Sabbath
Honor your father and mother
No murder
No adultery
No stealing
No gossipping
No coveting
(Exodus 20)

"All the be…

Not A Fan

So, one of my new favorite authors/bloggers/Christian woman, Jen Hatmaker, recently wrote a blog post entitled "Not a Fan" - she was needing some comedic relief from her more serious posts on world hunger and stuff like that, so she went this route, and encouraged others to do the same - for a lighter read - I like that idea.
The first thing she was not a fan of was party favors, and since I completely agree, I have tried to come up with my own list of five more.  By the way, the directions were for stuff like ketchup that comes out too fast or something like that, nothing deep allowed.

1)  Not a fan of carpool pick up.  I do a lot of carpooling.  Usually to and from soccer practices.  And I always take the "to" shift.  I can get away with this because I have younger children, and there is that bedtime thing, but it is so much quicker to just dump the kids out of your car instead of fearing being the last one at pick-up, so you show up 10 minutes early, just in ca…

My 2 Minute Rant

I was at the grocery store earlier this week and an acquaintance who I had not seen in almost a year practically ran up to me like a cheerleader and her bouncy little voice said "Guess what?  I got divorced!"
Is this what the world is coming to?
I hesitantly said "I'm so sorry", because that is what I say, and what I feel, when I hear this sort of news; but she said "No, it's okay, it's better!".
She has several kids.
It is not better.
I've heard that when you get fired up about something - whatever makes you mad - gets your goat - is what you might be wired/made to do something about.  I did not know this about myself.  I just can't get it out of my mind.

Maybe my life seems better to people because God has proven Romans 8:28 to be true - I was faithful, I did not initiate leaving, I did all I could to preserve our family, and God has taken that and worked it out for good.  But He still says "I hate divorce." (Mal. 2:…


Baby oil, Sun-in, Coppertone #4, Lemon juice, flipping over every thirty minutes.  Yes, my mom taught me well; but this is not the sunbathing I am referring to.

More like the warmth you feel on these cool autumn days in Chicago when you're outside freezing and the sun pokes out on you, and you just sit there soaking in as much warmth as you can.  Or, the lit-up grassy patch that you go sit in because it's ten degrees warmer than the shady spots.

"God is a gentleman, He does not force Himself upon us"
Like the sun.  It warms us if we let it.

The other day, I had the pleasure (not), of dealing with a temper tantrum.  Hang with me - it ties in.  After my own time-out, I attempted an embrace and got the Heisman push away.  You know how it is; they just want to have their own fit, so you pretty much just leave them alone until they're done, waiting for them, listening from afar, the entire time.

"God's love never commands a change, instead, it produces one.&qu…

Climbing on Ashes

I finally figured out why my amazing friend, who seems to know me better than myself sometimes, would want to take me on a trip to climb Mt. St. Helens.  She is smarter than I; and in her wisdom, after passing many blog thoughts through her head as we ascended, she remained silent.  And, after writing about ten pages worth of blog notes in my journal on the plane ride home, I still wasn't sold on what the main point was.  There were many sub-points, but three days post-climb, I got it.

The T-shirt we saw (but neglected to purchase) in the "Lone Fir" registration shop sums it up "We Kicked Ash".

Ashes - that's what we were climbing on.

And, that's what God has taken me out of, and brought me on top of!

Ash, according to Wikipedia, refers to products that remain after fire or incineration or combustion.  When something or someone is burned or "blows its' top" (as in a volcano) there is almost always something left over from that.  And it is …

Living Wide Awake!

I bit the bullet.
Signed us up for a family serving trip to Costa Rica - and I can't wait!
One of my daughters (I'll let you guess), even told me that this is what she's always "dreamed about doing".  Maybe I should just leave her there.  (kidding)

The dream comment is big though.  I just finished Erwin McManus' book, Wide Awake.  It took me a while because I didn't want to read it at night since it was so motivating I didn't think I'd be able to sleep.  In it, he says that our dreams - the ones we dream while awake, are God's visions for us.  The things He puts in our hearts that He has designed for us to do.

"Our dreams are where the future is fueled and created."

So, when I heard the message at church last week, and 5% of it was about getting your kids out of their comfort zone to see what the majority of the world lives like, I grabbed that, or, God grabbed it for me, and wouldn't let it out of my head until I did something a…

She Who Has Been Forgiven Much...

Loves Much

Do you remember this story?  It is recorded in Luke 7.  Jesus anointed by a sinful woman.  He (Jesus) tells a story to Simon about two men who owed money.  One man owed more money than the other, but both of their debts were canceled.  Simon acknowledged that the man who had owed a larger debt would be more grateful than the other, which was the point.  The sinful woman showed her love for Jesus so much because she knew she had been forgiven so much.

While one point may be that the more we mess up in life, the more often we can experience God's amazing grace;  I think another point is the more we REALIZE how much we've messed up, the more we grab hold of and spend our lives for Him because we realized how much we NEED it!

Brings me back to the post about my youngest daughter and her nasty notes.  A few of you have asked if it worked (see Grasping Grace post)... Two things have happened since then that show that this grace thing really might be getting through.  Fi…

Why I LOVE my Thursdays!

I don't really mind when my house isn't clean (sometimes to the irritation of others).
I don't really enjoy dressing up (if theres a zip or a snap, my kids think I'm going out).
And, my grammar is not impeccable either (I'm sure you've noticed this).
So, I'm starting to learn why I am very comfortable, and thoroughly enjoy hanging out at Breakthrough, a Homeless Shelter (and way more) in East Garfield Park, Chicago.  Just seems to fit me better than the North Shore sometimes...

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of leading my first devotional.  I was assigned the topic, "Becoming A Woman of Strength", because that is the name of the series the group is in, and I was pinch-hitting.

My head told me - "That's perfect for you, you've been through a lot and have been able to display this!".
God told me - "You're life has been a cakewalk compared to the lives of those you're about to speak to, so, be prepared to learn a few thi…

Unbroken or Broken?

I had the pleasure of forcing myself to read Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, for the past two weeks in order to be ready for an interview with Louis Zamperini (the man of whom the book is about) at church this weekend.
It was an awesome book, and I can understand why it was on the New York Times best seller list for 92 weeks.
However, I could not figure out why our Pastor wanted to interview Zamperini until the last few pages.  THAT was my favorite part.

Spoiler Alert:
The title "Unbroken" characterizes Zamperini's life for 90% of the book, but in the end, he is broken, and that characterizes his life from then on.  Thanks to Billy Graham, the man who was known for his strength, allowed himself to be broken.  And, it is in the breaking, that he was made whole.  Who else can completely take away revenge from a man's heart?  Who else can repair an almost broken marriage?  Who else can restore nightmares to peace?  Jesus.  The only One who can make a broken vessel who…

King David Vs. Honey Boo Boo

Walking my dog the other morning, we came across two very different women.  The first shrieked in fear when he slowly approached her for a sniff.  I quickly pulled him away, though he knew he wasn't wanted anyway, and then I kinda chuckled.  I was perplexed at how someone could be scared of this goofy looking gullump.  But, it was dark, and she had headphones on, so I'll give her that.

About 20 minutes later, another one passed, stating how beautiful he was.  He proudly pursued her, tail wagging high, looking at me as if to say - come on, let's get closer to her - she thinks I'm beautiful!
(I don't think male dogs are offended by the word "beautiful", I think they really know it's a good thing).  He couldn't keep his eyes off her, and if I were wearing roller blades, I would have had a nice ride.

We are made the same way.
We follow (aim to please, pursue to reach a goal) those who tell us we're beautiful.

Okay - now we'll get into the tit…

You Are My Strongest Player

In an effort to implement June and Ward Cleaver-Style parenting; I went to bed before my oldest came home from her late soccer game the other night.  She was quite wound up telling me (who could barely keeping my eyes open) all about their win and how she played.  Then right before she left, she said;  "The coach pulled me aside right before the game and told me, 'you are my strongest player, so I'm putting you in forward'".
But she doesn't play forward - for the past few years she's been playing midfield, and she started at defense when her career began at age six.  Apparently he's got new plans for her.

I woke up the next morning and heard those words penetrate from a different angle;
"You are My child, whom I have chosen, and I'm putting you in forward now."  That got me pretty pumped!
Most of us, as new Christians, start out in defense, trying not to sin.  Keeping the enemy out of the net.
Then we get to a point where we move up a …

Grasping Grace

Her name is Mia Grace.  In Italian, that translates "my grace".  In other words - "You will need to show her My grace A LOT", is what God is was telling me in naming her, though I didn't know it at the time.

We had a run-in after bedtime, she chose to disobey, she received consequences which would show themselves the next day.  She then proceeded to write how she felt about me for those consequences, and display them all over my bedroom, before finally turning in for the night.  (From what I've heard, this is a healthy way to deal with this issue, so I was fine with it when I discovered them later that night).  I thanked her for my "love notes" the next day.  Then God said, "you need to write back to her and show her what grace looks like".  So, I took each note and wrote back "I love you" on the bottom, then arranged them all over her room.
I loved this idea; I loved doing it; and I'm not taking credit for it because God …

Finding Yourself

"One of the things plaguing our generation is people trying to figure out who they are."  - Israel Houghton

I heard on the radio that a large percentage of men die within two years after retirement.  The reason for this, primarily, is because their identity is wrapped in their work - and they no longer have it, so they feel lost.  They see their worth by what they do rather than who they are.

This rung another bell with all the moms I saw at school drop-off who were really sad.  For so long we have been "mothering", that it's easy to get that stuck in our heads as who we are.  No.  It's what we've done for so long, but it's not who we really are.

I used to describe myself as an athlete.  Then God, in His infinite wisdom (and grace) relieved me of this image by allowing me plantar fasciitis, a herniated disc, torn menisci, IT band syndrome...  got the point?  He began to chisel away at my heart the things that I thought were making me who I was.  Bu…

For My Married Friends

I heard on the radio that married women are beginning to learn from their married-no-longer friends about, what else... marriage!  It kinda makes sense.  Like the orthopaedic surgeon who wears knee braces to ski, even though he's never torn his ACL, we can learn from the mistakes/blunders/failures of others.  They often know what doesn't work, and will advise against those things.  So, here goes.

I found "Leave It To Beaver" on TV, and watched it with my daughter, I was pretty baffled at how marriage, rather, family life, has changed.  Yes, it is TV, but I understand it to be a decent representation of how families were.  Correct me if I'm wrong, or just go with it.
Here's what I saw:

Wally advising June on how to parent the Beave.

Ward and June leaving in the middle of the day to go to the grocery store, together.

Wally showing up well after school was over because he had a baseball game, and June and Ward didn't even know about it.

June and Ward had no idea…

Today, I Crossed The Jordan!!

Today, I woke up before my alarm went off.  I have it set pretty early, and I beat it - why??
First day of school.
I love them dearly, but it's time.  I'm not one of those with the tears in her eyes.  I'm the one holding back the scream of becoming unchained - in a different sense, of course.
I feel a little like the teenager whose parents have left for the weekend.  I don't know where to start!

I realize that some of my neighbors are sad today.  We have entered a new territory.  A new phase of life.  Our youngest child is finally in full-day school.

"It's not always easy to trade the comfortable security of the known for an uncertain future."  This was said of the Israelites as they left Egypt and headed towards the Promised Land.  I love being at home with my kids, not having to work outside the home, and I realize this was a secure place.  Each day life pretty much revolved around taking care of my kids, and now it's uncertain (not that life as…

Summer Field Trips - Part II

I have a new favorite book.
I have been wrecked by it (in a good way) - The Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne.  If you aren't familiar with him, you might want to check it out.  In this book, he portrays the life of an 'ordinary radical' that is actually quite appealing to me.
In my experiences with the poor, his words are ringing very clearly.

Here are a few:

"I long for the Calcutta slums to meet the Chicago Suburbs - 
for lepers to meet landowners and for each to see God's image in the other...
I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning.
And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end."

"Don't choose issues, choose people -
Fall in love with a group of people who are marginalized and suffering, and then you won't have to worry about which cause you need to protest.  
Then the issues will choose you."

I took my youngest to "work" with me on Thursday again.  This is someth…

Summer Field Trips 2012 - Best and Worst

I took my oldest daughter downtown to walk around Michigan Avenue - window shopping (I was very clear about that one), and lunch.  I did this, not because it is something I enjoy doing, but because it is something she enjoys doing.  She is twelve (and a half) and into this type of thing; I, however, am not. But I tried to be into it for her, and came to the realization that one day she will be the one taking me downtown and showing me around this bustling part of Chicago because it is clearly not my comfort zone.  After forking over $30 plus for parking, we left.  I felt depleted (and we had just eaten).   I tried to keep a conversation going in the car so it would feel like a great bonding experience, but not sure that happened this time.  She is an awesome kid - responsible, mellow, good student, and good friends, but she's a night owl who likes the busy city, and I am an early bird who is more of an introvert.

I honestly think I'd rather live on a farm.

My youngest and I …

Gluten Free - Why??

So, there's lots of talk now-a-days about the whole gluten-free thing.
Reasons that are not longer medical.
Mine is one of those; and I'll get to that in a minute.
I was reading a blog the other day by a woman whose writing I really respect, and still do, but I really wanted to add something and I couldn't figure out how to post a comment, so I'm just writing my own.

She was kind of slamming the Daniel Plan (basically, no whites - flour, sugar...), which I really like.  It's the eating plan designed from Saddleback Church and Dr.s Oz, Hyman and Amen - for anyone looking to get healthy.  The whole idea probably started because Rick Warren wanted to lose weight.  And he noticed that he wasn't the only one in the church that wanted to do so - then he noticed that there were donuts everywhere in the church, and a lot of church functions centered around eating...  unhealthy things.  I agreed with her that this is not for everyone.  It does seem like the Daniel Pl…

How To Fly!

My favorite part of the Olympics is watching the parents in the stands.  They are hilarious.  Out of the whole crowd, you can tell whose kid is racing by how the parents are or aren't watching.  My favorites have been the moms and dads in gymnastics.  They are so nervous for their kids.  I'm sure there's a lot more nervous parents in the stands but they don't show them - they should; it's great entertainment, better than table tennis.  I remember my mom having no one that would sit next to her when I played goalkeeper because she would elbow them if they were every time the ball got near me.  They say as a parent, it's like having your heart running around outside of you, and I think that's what this shows - their hearts are either going to beam or break in these situations.

I kinda think that's why God gave us free will.  He gave us the ability to choose His gift of life with Jesus or not.  He gives us the opportunity every day to make His heart soar …

The Ultimate Road Trip Tag

Most of my "tag" experiences involved cars that I would see on the highway while on a road trip who were going equally as fast as I was.  It was nice to just get right behind them so they'd be the ones getting pulled over, or so I didn't really have to look at my speedometer, and I could just rest and go.  If you lost your tag because they were low on gas, or if they got to their destination before you did, eventually you would find another, but this is not the kind of tag I'm talking about.

Last year (and I don't know if this qualifies as a "tag" since it was planned, but I'm calling it that), I had the luxury of following a friend all over Germany.  I had a bum GPS in my car, and three kids, so following someone was a huge stress-relief.  At one point, however, she got off the autobahn VERY fast, I only had a split second to decide what to do, and I kept on the highway - I kept going my way (insert d_ _ b).  Why?  I do not know, and I will nev…

The Seal (Car, Part 2)

Not long after the jeep issue had passed, the thought of a newer, different car intrigued me.  One with better gas mileage, maybe a different color.  I didn't really like where my head was going with this, so I went on the search for a unique sticker for my own car to keep me bound to it emotionally.  I was never allowed to put stickers on my cars before because it hurt the resale value, but I'm not really concerned about the resale value because I'm keeping it.  So, I found a nice gaudy sticker to put on it that represents all of the users.  It's not going anywhere now, we're bound to it.   Immediately, I lost my interest in other cars.  I was content and satisfied with the one who had not let me down so far.  Her gas mileage was pretty lame, but she was mine.  I was not gazing longingly at anything else.  It was actually pretty cool how that worked.  No, I'm not going where you think I am with this...

Then I realized that we've been sealed like that.
2 C…

What Do You Want More?

I want a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - Red.
It's been sneaking up in my head for the last week or so, and they are now parked or driving by wherever I am.  I even took one out for a spin the other day, in hopes that that would curtail my desire - dumb move.
Then I took the dog for his morning walk.

It had rained a lot the night before and I walked past a very cool flow of water through a what used to be flooded area.  It had been made into some sort of a ravine for drainage.  It even funneled into a big pipe that was built under several driveways to keep the flow going in the right direction.
God told me - that's what my spirit looks like in people who don't fill themselves up with the things of this world.
Ouch... Okay, I got it.  So, if I were to fill myself up with, let's say, a jeep, the flow would stop and there would be a blockage?
Yep.  He said.

Not a minute later, I gave Him the Jeep.  He took it.  Then He showed me one of my friends who really needs some praye…